Tag Archives: Colin Insole

The Town Crier


I think Colin Insole should write a new fiction entitled ‘The Town Crier’ in its literal sense.

In the meantime, I declare my candidacy to become his Bellman.

My review of his debut collection entitled ELEGIES & REQUIEMS (Side Real Press 2013): HERE

Details of his publications: HERE

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Colin Insole – Elegies and Requiems


Very pleased to see this book is forthcoming from Side Real Press, with several brand new stories by Colin Insole.

[EDIT: 20.11.13: Just started a Real-Time Review of this book here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/elegies-requiems-colin-insole/ ]

Gratifyingly for me, two of this book’s stories were first published in:

The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies: The Apoplexy of Beelzebub

The First Book of Classical Horror Stories: The Appassionata Variations


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The Seer Is Never Thanked

I have just received the lovely box and covers for THE LAST THINKERS set plus THE MADMAN OF TOSTERGLOPE by Louis Marvick:

My reviews of the Last Thinker books:

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The Last Gold of Decayed Stars

by Colin Insole

Publisher’s description here: http://www.exoccidente.com/stars.html

On final page of this book: “‘The Last Gold of Decayed Stars’ has been limited to 158 numbered copies for sale, plus extra copies, which are reserved for private distribution. This is copy number” 24 (in red ink)

64 pages – with hedonistic cover, partly spine-overlapped decadent shivery hardish velvet to the touch in black (and I have been told by a third party that this is some weird animal hide).  Luxury stiff paper pages. Stitched to your reading-skin.




A Secret in Illyria
“Anna hid her irritation at the woman’s glib and facile remark, but on her way home, her anger and self-reproach grew.”
Anita Brookner has been one of my favourite writers for many years, but sadly I have not seen a new novel from her recently.  This book — that I already (perhaps too early) infer to be a quilted novella of episodes imbued by vicarious Proustian memory — seems to have Brookner’s ‘soul’.  Now, having read this the first ‘story’ and riffled through the rest without yet reading them, this is Anna’s answer to what she sees as the tawdry seaside world (where I live): her threaded threnody with the musical sensibilities of, say, the Delius ‘Song of Summer’ deliciously prose-mingled with the Peter Warlock ‘Curlew’ – an idyllic revery in confrontation with modernity, reliving the past of foreigh climes with their even more foreign ‘mores’ where her grandmother once ‘inhabited’. Of course I may be completely wrong. We shall see… An exquisite start, though



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Real-Time Regained

“Click on this image for my Real-Time Reviews: supporting the known and unknown authors of good imaginative literature in a ground-breaking leitmotif / gestalt fashion from Nov 2008 to Oct 2012.”

That’s something I wrote on my site last October, having decided to retire, around the age of 65, from what was becoming an onerous, if enjoyable and hopefully altruistic, task.

Having conducted, in recent days, this experiment in real-time reviewing of Nicholas Royle’s FIRST NOVEL and QUILT, I am having a ‘second wind’. I must have passed through this  marathon ‘wall’!

For this purpose, I have pre-ordered WHITSTABLE (Spectral Press) by Stephen Volk, TALLEST TALES (Eibonvale Press) by Rhys Hughes, JANE (Chômu Press) by PF Jeffery, DEHISCENCE (Ex Occidente Press) by DP Watt and THE LAST GOLD OF DECAYED STARS (Ex Occidente Press) by Colin Insole – and I intend to resume my regular RTRs of future editions of BLACK STATIC (TTA Press) and THEAKER’S QUARTERLY FICTION and anything else that catches my eye, but please remember I continue not to accept free review copies of books.

Eventually these new RTRS will be listed and linked here.

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My reading-lifetime’s Hall of Fame

Image by Tony Lovell (2011)

My reading-lifetime’s Hall of Fame in no particular order:

Charles Dickens, Christopher Priest, AS Byatt, Enid Blyton, May Sinclair, HP Lovecraft, Barbara Vine, Reggie Oliver, Anita Brookner, WG Sebald, Jeremy Reed, Ian McEwan, Elizabeth Bowen, Stephen King, Oliver Onions, Marcel Proust, Salman Rushdie, Glen Hirshberg, Paul Auster, Mark Valentine, John Fowles, Edgar Allan Poe, John Cowper Powys, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, Jack Vance, Philip K Dick, Jeff VanderMeer, Samuel R Delany, Anthony Burgess, Susanna Clarke, Rhys Hughes, Lawrence Durrell, MR James, Robert Aickman, Sarban, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti, Tommaso Landolfi, Kazuo Ishiguro, Quentin S. Crisp.

This is a list including writers I once considered in my Hall of Fame but now rarely read, and new writers whose works I read quite a lot and have included in my Hall of Fame fairly recently and variations upon that, but all have been major reading experiences some time in my life.  Apologies to those I’ve inadvertently omitted because of my semi-Proustian memory.


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The Apoplexy of Beelzebub

Reviews of this Colin Insole story (so far):

Colin Insole masterfully interweaves elements of hagiography, developmental child psychology, and fin-de-siècle paranoia, with a carefully chosen tableau of arresting images. ‘We nail our lies to the ghosts of suspicion.’ This is a magnificent tale, and one of the best I have read this year.

the cruelties of a decayed city whose residents keep elaborate records of the nastier aspects of their history.

“The Apoplexy of Beelzebub” by  Colin Insole ( an extraordinary emerging talent) is a marvelous, dark tale in which a researcher perusing the city archives unearths past tragedies and disreputable events involving her own family.

“The Apoplexy of Beelzebub” consists of many macabre or tragic digressions, miniature myths and fables all woven together with, and at times dominating, the main strand of his narrative to create a grotesque, pullulating effect.

This is dark, disturbing and unrelentingly grim. We can all feel trapped by family, place, convention, culture. In Mr. Insole’s nightmare city, insularity is celebrated, cruelty the greatest tradition, escape the worst sin. This will resonate with anyone who lives in any kind of community, or has a family, and will stick with me for a long time.

Another story, equally chilling in its ability to reveal the power of stories to corrupt our lives, is Colin Insole’s “The Apoplexy of Beelzebub”.  Insole has created a city somewhere between a fantasy city and a city in Britain’s North East, Hull comes to mind, in which a daughter strives to get away from her wicked (step?) mother and the poisonous web of libel and gossip which festers in the city archives.  Is the daughter in control of her destiny of not?  Will she escape the web of words?

Best Short Story – ‘The Apoplexy of Beelzebub’ by Colin Insole

“…the best story in the book, written with a style and panache which seems both in love with the grotesque things that it describes and at the same time to recoil from them, addressing themes of bullying and retribution.” (Black Static # 25 – TTA Press)

Insole’s story, published in the Des Lewis edited The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies, took the prize with its invention, grimy atmosphere and minatory subtext.

Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will be shown in comments below.


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